Today is the last day of group play. We’ve been treated to an amazing opening round here in South Africa. The finalists from 2006 have both been sent packing. Powers England and Germany had to work for their spots in the knockout stages. South Africa have been valiant as hosts, almost making their way into the second round. Despite three draws, New Zealand go home feeling like world beaters. Meanwhile, the tiny United States has captured the hearts of their countrymen and moved into the second round.
Brazil v. Portugal (10am)
Brazil are in. Portugal, by virtue of their 7-0 victory against North Korea, are likely in. A draw would assure the Portuguese of their place in the second round. A loss doesn’t spell disaster, but they’ll have to keep it from being a blowout.
Prediction: Brazil wins
Ivory Coast v. North Korea (10am)
Portugal put the pressure on Drogba and Co. by rattling off 7 goals against the hapless North Koreans. The Elephants didn’t do themselves any favors in losing to Brazil by two goals. They’ll have to make up a 9 goal differential in order to move on to the second round. In short, Ivory Coast will be praying for a blowout, while they try to orchestrate one of their own.
Prediction: Ivory Coast wins, but not by enough
Spain v. Chile (2:30pm)
Spain need a win to get up and out of this group. Especially considering that Switzerland will be heavy favorites in their match against Honduras. Chile has looked good, but I like the Spaniards in the event they decide to show up.
Prediction: Spain win
Switzerland v. Honduras (2:30pm)
Every underdog has had its moment of glory here at the World Cup. Well, everyone except Honduras.
Prediction: Switzerland win